West Peoria, Kenwood Avenue—1965
I was the oldest kid in the family, and I had a younger brother and two younger sisters. For all of you readers out there who may have had an older brother, you may at times have wondered about whether or not us older brothers have some kind of a sacred duty to keep all you little snots from getting too far out of line. Well, I'm here now to confirm that this is absolutely true. We are contractually obligated to come down on you all if you get too far out of line.
And yes, we do have a union.
Back in 1965, when I was 11 and my sister Janet was about 9, it occurred to me and my best buddy Todd that my sister Janet was evolving into an uppity little booger snot, and that a crisis of power and control was beginning to develop. Todd and I agreed that I had to figure out a way to rectify this situation and put my sister back in her place pronto and if possible, to do it in front of her little friends so that the lesson would stick. It wasn't long before Todd and I (I can't remember who thought of this first, but we were definitely co-conspirators on this little project) came up with this stunt that we both thought was one hell of an idea at the time.
Janet's favorite things in the whole world back then were her Ken and Barbie dolls complete with a doll house to put them in. Just about every afternoon Janet and her little friend Judy would go marching up to her bedroom so they could have high tea with Ken and Barbie in their little doll house. Janet and Judy would take a second on their way to my sister's bedroom to turn up their noses and sniff at Todd and I as they walked past my bedroom door, while Todd and I were plotting world conquest in there or something like that and Todd and I both decided something had to be done about my sister's attitude, and done damn quickly. This situation could not be allowed to stand. No sir-ee Bob, no way.
Todd and I had recently made (for us at the time) a major discovery. We had located Todd's Dad's stash of stroke books under some old papers and junk in Todd's Dad's bottom dresser drawer. There's a line from an old Frank Zappa song on the album “Overnight Sensation”—”like some tacky little pamphlet in your daddy's bottom drawer”—that instantly takes me back in time to Peoria and this particular incident whenever I hear it without fail.
As a result of this find, Todd and I were getting clued in to how utterly weird adults could be when they really put their minds to it as one of those tacky little pamphlets had an S&M theme. You could almost see the gears spinning 'round in our heads as we looked the thing over. Before long, we had a wonderful (or so it seemed at the time) idea as to how to put my sister and her little friends back in their place.
One afternoon, about two hours before my sister Janet was due to come up the stairs and sneer at Todd and I on her way to her precious doll house with Judy and a couple other friends tagging along behind, Todd and I grabbed the Ken and Barbie doll and pulled off all of their clothes. We were armed with a black magic marker, some black yarn, some scotch tape and scissors and my artistic skill that was just beginning to manifest itself back then.
I used a picture in the S&M pamphlet as my guide.
The picture was only perfect for what I had in mind.
When I got through with the Ken and Barbie doll and we had them placed properly in the bedroom of the doll house, Todd and I stood back to admire my handiwork, both of us laughing with savage glee. The Ken doll was down on all fours in the middle of the doll house bedroom floor with a black thong drawn on him and a little black gag drawn on his mouth, and I'd drawn some red whip welts on his butt with a red pen I'd found as an afterthought.
The Barbie doll was sitting on Ken's back with thigh high black boots, black underwear and a little black yarn whip taped skillfully to her right hand that was raised in the air, and her left hand holding on to the black yarn reins that had been glued to the gag in the Ken doll's mouth. Barbie was smiling as though she were having the time of her life. As far as dioramas go, it was a juvenile masterpiece, I was very, very proud of myself. Todd and I went downstairs to watch TV and wait for Janet to come home and the festivities to begin.
Janet, punctual as always, walked through the door right on time with Judy and a couple of other girls right behind her. She turned her head once to stick out her tongue at me before marching up the stairs with her little friends in tow, while Todd and I watched Captain Jinks and Salty Sam, snorting and grunting like a couple of feral swine trying to suppress our laughter. We figured on about fifteen to twenty seconds before the shit hit the fan. As it turns out, I had my sister charted fairly accurately. I heard their footsteps leading to the bedroom, a pause and then... “MOMMMM!”
Next we heard the indignant stomping of my sister's feet as she came down the stairs, and my mother coming out of the kitchen looking annoyed as hell and wondering what the hell I'd done this time as my sister shoved the X-rated Ken and Barbie doll into my mothers face and then pointing straight at me with a finger promising death an damnation: “Look at what that pervert did this time!”
Todd and I literally bolted right through the front screen door getting out of there.
Todd eventually went home, but I stayed away from my house for at least a couple of hours and wandered aimlessly around the neighborhood. I knew Dad was gonna be pissed about the screen door that Todd and I destroyed on our way out of there. I figured I was gonna get slugged at least a couple of times a-piece by both Mom and Dad for both the outrage of the dolls and the screen door, but I was wrong. Dad and Mom were both sitting there on the sofa, and Janet was standing off to the side with her arms crossed looking totally vindicated. Dad had an X-rated doll in each of his hands.
That night I didn't get slugged. I got a lecture instead.
One of those long, serious lectures with Mom and Dad both taking turns. They were both seriously worried about me, about how they'd managed to raise such a little pervert. Sometimes a lecture is worse than getting punched...and this was one of those times.
And it all happened, once upon a time, long ago...in Peoria.
Bonus Swizzle Stick Donation From Max Cloat!
MBIP Reader, Max Cloat from Sycamore, Illinois generously donated some swizzle sticks from his personal collection to the MBIP swizzle stick collection and they just arrived yesterday! Here they are.
And Max included this note:
Thank you so much Max, not only for the cool swizzle sticks, but for reading the blog. I appreciate it! Let me know the next time you come to Peoria and the beer’s are on me!